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The Winner: A Ballroom Dance Novel

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  40 ratings  ·  31 reviews
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The most prestigious ballroom dance competition in the United States.

Two dancers need to win.

Only one can.

Nina Fortunova wasn't supposed to end up almost thirty, divorced, with her dreams of winning shattered. She teams up with Jorge Gonzalez, a hunky and hard-working Latin dancer, to reinvent the flashy Smooth style.

When the Chairman of the J

Kindle Edition, 328 pages
Published December 20th 2016 by Curtain Call Press
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4.33  · 
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 ·  40 ratings  ·  31 reviews

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Jan 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cheating, fiction
“Last year, we won.”

Before I began reading “The Winner”, my knowledge about ballroom dancing was very limited. I had no idea that this particular dance was still very popular or that there were plenty of competitions where people could compete professionally. The couples I always saw swirling gracefully across the dance floor in the movies always gave me the impression that ballroom dancing was an easy thing to do and could be achieved without much practice.

Of course this book proved to me
Sep 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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I’m a huge fan of Strictly Come Dancing (the format known as Dancing With The Stars in the US) but watching it on TV gives you little indication of the real life drama, the graft, and the travelling that is integral to the competitive ballroom dancing circuit. The Winner lifts the lid on this and gives you privileged access to the lives of the dancers, and to what
Ian Welch
Dec 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Winner is a multi-layered story with its main premise ballroom dancing. But it is much more. It explores some of the finer points of competition dancing but not to the detriment of a finely crafted storyline. Focusing around two main characters, Nina and Carly, it tells of their hopes and aspirations and romantic trials and tribulations, as experienced through their eyes. At first, I found the jumping between the two unsettling, but as the story progressed I grew to accept it. It worked.
Karen Cogan
Feb 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
I began the story by having little understanding about the intricacies of the ballroom dances being describe. However, as the novel deepened into the personal lives of the two woman dancers and their partners, I was pulled into their struggles and victories. The romances became more absorbing as the characters developed. They struggled with personal tragedies as well as enjoying victories on the dance floor. In gaining victories, the novel explores the question of what lengths we will go in orde ...more
Augustine Sam
Nov 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Choreographed Emotions

This book is more than just a ballroom dance novel, and cheekily so, though its subtitle pigeonholes it as such. It is essentially the story of Nina and Carly whose liaison shifts rather quickly from a coach-trainee relationship to ballroom dance competitors and then to best friends. Told in alternate chapters, it is the saga of two women ensnared by an intense love for ballroom dancing and an anxiety over the national championship. Two women whose devotion to the craft mat
Emily Williams
Mar 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had already enjoyed another novel by author, Erin Bomboy so couldn't wait to read this second novel. I wasn't disappointed. Despite being a complete non-dancer and knowing nothing at all about the dancing world, the author has the ability to sweep you into the story regardless.

The story is told between the two characters, Nina and Carly. It took a bit of time to get the hang of the POV turn-taking between chapters, which - at first - made me long to skip chapters to get back to the character I
Aug 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Never having learned ballroom dancing, I might have thought that I would have a problem understanding all of the dance practice and dance steps. But I did not understand them, and I did not have a problem with not understanding them!

The story is written in alternating first person chapters, with two different women, being both friends and competitors, telling their accounts of vying for a National championship in Ballroom dancing. The closest I have come to ballroom dancing is briefly watching
Tom Behr)
Feb 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dancing has been an apt metaphor for love since the Bible and the Ancient Greeks. In “The Winner,” Erin Bomboy brings her impressive expertise as a dancer and dance teacher to her romantic love story of two couples, Nina and Jorge, and Carly and Trey, who are drawn into fierce competition with each other for a national dance championship.

For spectators, ballroom dancing can seem a glamorous, captivating experience of exquisitely graceful movement – whose magic Bomboy fully brings to life. But sh
Sep 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was promised to be a hit with fans of dancing competition shows like Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance. Thus, I was intrigued to check this book out. Yes, it does feature dancing but it is about so much more than just "dance".

I loved the two main female leads Nina and Carly. Nina is the veteran in this story and Carly is the newbie. Yet, both women hold no grudges toward each other. In fact, Nina helps and encourages Carly in the competitive world of ballroom danci
Gretchen Jeannette
This vibrant tale of love, misplaced ambition, and the power of manipulation calls into question the adage “Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.” The Winner follows a turbulent period in the lives of two women chasing their dreams: Nina, a seasoned ballroom dance competitor determined to make a comeback and retire on top as Nationals champion; and Carly, a rising young talent striving to fulfill the needs and expectations of her famous dance partner. In depicting the intensely competit ...more
Sandy Quinn
Aug 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dominique Kyle
As soon as I realised the author was actually a trained classical ballet dancer and later, a ballroom dancer, I began to really look forward to reading this book, as I love reading books by authors who really know what they are talking about. Personally, I’ve never taken a single step of dance – ok, get the violins out now – my parents couldn’t afford to send me to the ballet class in the old corn exchange when I was small and I wept tears into my pillow, but knew we had no money for it. The lit ...more
Brin Murray
Dec 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this story, surprisingly. I know nothing about dancing and it’s not a world I would have thought I was interested in – but wow, this story is thoroughly entertaining and unexpectedly gripping.
The ballroom scenes and dancing seem amazing to me, as no expert: rich with knowledge and alive with genuine, heartfelt passion and understanding from the author.
The characters are extremely well-drawn, believable and their development – because they do change, a lot – is very plausible
Hock Tjoa
Oct 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this well-written book but the novel's subtitle, A Ballroom Dance Novel, must be taken seriously.

Regarding the Waltz, we are told "On the floor, the duos swept into languorous pivots, right thighs pressed together as their left legs traced semi-circles. It was beautiful in the way geometry was: resolved, rational, flesh evenly distributed between points and lines." Further, I met a line that puzzled me - "Equation on the bottom, solution on the top."

About the Tango, we are told "A stri
Sep 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was supposed to be Nina Fortunova's year to win. Instead, she is divorced, without a partner on and off the dance floor. Nina takes to training a young couple, Carly and Sam. Soon, teacher and student become competitors as Nina finds a new partner in Jorge, a Latin Dancer who wants to transition to smooth and Carly gets picked up by Trey, a three time National champion. Both ladies will do whatever it takes to win, but will they take it too far?

Riveting and captivating, The Winner threw me
Michelle (Bookaholic Banter)
First let me start off by saying there just aren't enough books out there that revolve around the world of dance. I am a huge fan of dance.  It is near and dear to my heart. SYTYCD is my favorite show on television. I absolutely loved reading a book that allowed me to get swept away onto the dance floor. It was refreshing to read. There is something intoxicating about it. It is one one of my loves. 

I enjoyed every second of this story. I sped through the pages so quickly. The characters were abs
Sep 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

The Winner is a powerful story of winning at all costs. The story focuses on two main female characters both from very different backgrounds but both feel the pressure to win and would do so in any way.

Nina is a second generation immigrant whose parents gave up everything to come to America for her to succeed. As many parents of immigrants know (and even third and fourth generations) there is an expectation placed on you - that every generation achieve something greater. You would go to Universi
The book not only tells a ballroom dancing story but also takes its shape. The two-points of view, Carly's and Nina's, put in place an arena of words, literary replicate of a ballroom where two couples are competing in American Smooth. The plot unfolds, with a subtle flow, like a choreographed dance of words. The author sprinkles vivid images, “I was a gob of cells wrapped in a cocoon of hope and big dreams,” and dance figures, “the floor churned with activity: sky-high kicks, endless twirls, el ...more
Kristin's Novel Cafe
My Review: 5/5

I’ve been a lover of dance from an early age. I grew up taking dance, gymnastics, and twirling. In high school I was on the drill team, and later in life I found myself tearing up the dance floor with friends. I am a frequent watcher of the television show ‘So You Think You Can Dance’. When I was given the opportunity to read a book about the inside world of dance competition, I jumped at the chance. I was highly pleased!

This book is a phenomenal. It dives into the world of ballroo
Sep 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Poignant. Real. Beautiful. This is my second book by Erin Bomboy and I continue to be blown away by how much power she can get into a word, sentence, scene. I’ve been pulled through a full range of emotions- again.

For me this wasn’t so much about the dancing as it was the dancers. That said, the attention to detail allowed me to be there in the lessons, and on the dance floor. There are two narratives in this book, Cary and Nina, both of whom I felt a deep connection with.

As the story progressed
Nancy Weckwerth
Jan 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Winner is a WINNER!

Told from the point of view of the two vivid female characters, dancers Nina and Carly, the story unfolds as gracefully as the dancers themselves. Using an incredible array of sensuous words to describe the scenes, the people, the sensations, and the dances, the author displays a high level of artistry with language that parallels the art form she is describing.

Particularly impressive is the author’s ability to build the story. It keeps getting better and better as it goe
Phil Sageser
The only movie I ever stayed for a second showing of was "The Turning Point." I had never paid much attention to ballet before that and had really had some doubts about whether I wanted to see the movie to begin with. It was a revelation and I've been a ballet fan ever since.

"The Winner" is not my usual fare either, but over the years as a therapist, I've had more than one client who was heavily involved in the world of competitive ballroom dancing. Erin Bomboy clearly knows this world well, alt
Carol Devine
Jul 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ballroom Dance fan or not, this is a great read. Comedic in parts, it was also filled with the pathos and complexity of real life. Even though my dancing experience is almost nil, I enjoyed and easily followed the adventures of the two main characters: one woman just entering the dance world, and the other a veteran of that world. The author brought the NYC setting to impressive life, including its ethnic roots. Love in many forms - whether it involved parents and children, romantic lovers and f ...more
Peggy Lay
Nov 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Winner by Erin Bomboy

I have watched So You Think You Can Dance with my daughter for the past 8 years. I don’t dance but I so admire the determination of dancers. So I was excited to read this book knowing the subject and reading some of the reviews. I was not disappointed. The Winner is well written and a hands down 5 star book.

All the characters were well developed but I thought Carly was fabulous. The pull between her dream and her family was painfully clear and the competiveness she put f
Sep 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Winner: A Ballroom Dance Novel by Erin Bomboy was a well written book about following your happiness and knowing what really makes a person happy. I loved the morale dilemmas that were in this book because they really made me stop and think about what I would do if I had to decide if I would rather be guaranteed a win unfairly or do my best fairly and win or lose on my own skill. Nina Fortunova and Carly Martindale were my two favorite characters because I loved their dynamic with each other ...more
Sep 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow! What a rollercoaster!

We start out following a husband and wife dancing duo.

Eventually, we add a second (third?) character and find our main characters are Nina and Carly.

Nina and Carly go from strangers to co-worker to teacher/student to competitors to friends.

Throughout the story, we live in a world of dance competition and travel through loss, love, competition and betrayal.

I did find the beginning a little slow but was sucked in and couldn’t put it down.

The story definitely did not go as
Wander Girl Life
Aug 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I follow a lot of dance based reality shows on television and often view a lot of live dance performances. Most of the times I am in awe looking at the dancers swirl, like a poetry in motion. But what we see is the output of their hard work, which often goes unnoticed. I always wondered about what goes into becoming a fine dancer and this book offers exactly that.

‘The Winner’ is a tale of prestigious ballroom dance competition based in the United States. We have two protagonists in the book who
Helen T-B
Apr 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Something Different!
The Winner A Ballroom Dance Novel by Erin Bomboy
Prepare to curl up with this very different romance of Erin Bomboy author of The Winner: A Ballroom Dance Novel. In my humble opinion, this story contains a medley of beautiful romances about falling in love no matter what life has already thrown at you. It causes the reader to get caught up in the secondary characters almost as much as the two leads. The front cover and title are extremely appropriate for this story. Although this is one story in a dance story series it i
Oct 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this novel. I was drawn into the story in a way that I did not expect. I have to admit that I didn't know anything about competitive ballroom dancing before reading "The Winner", but Ms. Bomboy is able to quickly get the reader acclimated to this environment. The characters are compelling and the conflict within the story is inspiring. Will Nina make a decision that she knows she will regret just to win? Will Carly stay under Trey's influence? These pivotal questions are answere ...more
Ottilee B.
BRAVA and Kudos to Ms. Bomboy! An interesting read about the world of Ballroom dancing and its characters. Where the men wear tail coats executing steps precisely and the women always follow.

What is truly fascinating is these are real people under real pressure: do you know what goes on with your next-door neighbor? Have you any idea that the couple in the next building are that psychotic to win?? It's amazing!! You realize something has to happen but when it does, wow. (One person buys another
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A native of Richmond, Virginia, Erin Bomboy trained as a classical ballet dancer before spending a decade as a professional competitive ballroom dancer. She holds an MFA in Dance Performance and Choreography from New York University Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in New York City with her husband and daughter where she works as a writer, editor, and teacher in the dance field. In her free tim ...more
“This is America. Dreams are cheap.” 0 likes
“Ballroom dancing was inherently social, but steps replaced words and beats ironed out pauses. The shy, the awkward, and the weird found a home where good rhythm or a barn of a memory vanquished their shyness, awkwardness, and weirdness. Some got good while others stayed middling. Everyone, though, had fun.” 0 likes
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